Shearwater’s Jet Plane And Oxbow is an album that looks backward—to the recording technologies and sounds of the early ’80s—in order to interrogate the present and to contemplate the future. Shearwater’s moody, thoughtful style, built around Jonathan Meiburg’s dramatic, beautiful voice, turned toward rock with 2012’s Animal Joy, which now sounds like a stopover in the flight path toward Jet Plane. Meiburg used period-specific instruments; his guitar playing alludes to Adrian Belew’s work with David Bowie and Robert Fripp’s with Peter Gabriel; he integrates the stark sounds of Joy Division and early New Order. But the goal wasn’t nostalgia. Jet Plane doesn’t sound retro, nor does it sound like an homage. The allusions are there to create a sonic parallel to our time. Meiburg will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new Shearwater feature.
Meiburg: No other piece of music I’ve ever heard seems as much like it’s listening to you as this one; it can turn the most mundane afternoon into a transcendent, mind-altering experience. Its dissonance might be a little jarring at first, but trust me—after five minutes it becomes invisible, and after 10 minutes all you’ll notice is that time has slowed and that the world suddenly seems as beautiful and mysterious as it really is. There’s room in Feldman’s music for your mind to wander, but to call it “minimalist” misses the point; there’s nothing minimal about it effects, and it doesn’t vanish into the background; it changes the whole scene.
BTW, a great interview with the funny, intense Feldman posted here has an interesting backstory. The interview was conducted in English in 1967, taped, transcribed, translated into French and published, then translated back into English years later after the tape was lost. So you get exchanges like this:
What do you think about the influence of Cage?
What do you think about the influence of Socrates?
A great man, without a doubt!
Yeah, but they killed him.
So, you think that Cage might be … ?
That’s what’s happening, because we’re starting to accept him.
Video after the jump.